Schenectady County

Festival conclusion not dampened by wet weather

Despite a fierce thunder-and-lightning storm, people lined up for the pizza frite at St. Anthony’

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Despite a fierce thunder-and-lightning storm, people lined up for the pizza frite at St. Anthony’s Festa on Sunday.

Volunteer Sandy Lasky said the church makes about 50 pounds of batter at a time for the treat. It is rolled, stretched out and then fried. “A little confectionery sugar and you’re set to go,” she said.

Lasky said the fried dough confection is a very popular attraction at the annual festival. “People don’t really eat it and they don’t make it at home if they’re not Italian,” she said.

Sunday was the final day of the three-day Festa street party. A portion of Seward Place was closed off and filled with food vendors. There were also raffles and children’s rides and games. Even the rain storms that passed through the area Sunday were not enough to deter people from attending. Church officials did not have an idea of the number of attendees.

“They come for the food. They come for the socialization,” said Annie Moore, who is the chairwoman of baked goods for the festival.

Among the foods on display and for sale were canoli, wine cookies and sfogliatelle, an Italian cheese pastry.

“You can’t get them all the time and the fact that they are homemade makes it even better. People come for the pastries. For the older Italian folk, it brings them back to their culture.”

Volunteers work feverishly at baking all the food during the days in the last week before the event. “We go nonstop from 5 o’clock in the morning until 4 o’clock in the afternoon,” she said.

Rosalie Puglis of Schenectady was eating cavatelli — a type of pasta. She said her sister belongs to the church and she has been coming for many years. “It’s a very enjoyable time. It’s all good food; it’s all homemade,” she said.

Brittney Mitchell, 7, of Binghamton was sampling some of the pizza frite.

“I think it’s good,” she said.

Jessica DeThorne of Schenectady, who used to go to St. Anthony’s School, said she likes coming back to the Festa to see old friends.

Onnie Nappi, one of the organizers, said the festival has been going on for at least 70 years. The church still continues the tradition of carrying a statue of the saint around the block.

“It’s a big community gathering for people,” he said. “The whole thing is to honor the saint.”

Categories: Schenectady County

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